Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Eat Well for Less

Last night Channel 9 aired a new show called "Eat Well for Less" and I knew it would be right up my alley.  The weekly food budget is one that is unavoidable however we can always do better and spend less.  There are different ways to save on a budget without giving up things.  For instance instead of buying a can of coke for lunch at the shop you an buy a box of coke from the supermarket and take on to work for lunch and save yourself approximately 50% or more without giving up coke or diet coke as was in my case.  I actually love budgeting and spreadsheets and recording things so this doesn't bother me and I know where all my money goes.

The show aired last night and followed families doing their weekly food shop to the check out.  The hosts were in the office watching via a TV how the families shopped, what they bought and how much they spent.  They say the average food shop for a family of 4 is $156 which personally is very lean however these families were spending $350-$700 a week food shopping.  These families didn't shop with a list, nor did they view their pantry, fridge and freezer before going shopping.  You can pretty quickly accumulate things if you just keep buying the same food items each week.  For instance one family purchased a tray of Italian canned tomatoes when in fact at home they already had 7 or more tins.  Unless they were having 50 people around for an Italian meal that is probably too much tins of tomato to keep in the cupboard.

In Australia we really don't need to stockpile food and if you ever run out there's usually 3 local supermarkets within 2 kms from your home.  We don't need to stockpile for the winter or have snow days where you can't leave the house so a few years ago my friends and I cut back on what we were stocking in the pantry.  We meal plan for the week and therefore you only need to buy food that you are going to have that week.  As far as specials go if you don't buy it at the supermarket this week the other supermarket will have it on sale the following week.  I would much rather that the supermarkets when they have specials 2 for 1 that they just lowered the individual price for the 1 item because it still forces us to spend more to save less... ah great sales and marketing coming into play here.  Spend more to save more.

Most of the families were shocked at how much their annual food bills were and how much they could save buy making some simple changes.  Firstly there was the one Dad who is a bit of a home brand snob and I thought he would have the hardest time making changes however he ended up being really good about it.  The weekly food bills they referred to included food, take out and alcohol.

I loved the show and even though I learnt all these tricks about 7 years ago I can still improve on my weekly spending at the supermarket.  This year I made a big effort to shop at Aldi 95% and Woolworths 5% and so far it's working and my food budget is going further however I do need to tweak it to save even more.

We all know that buying pre-packaged individual packets of biscuits, yoghurts etc. cost a fortune and I stopped buying the kids individual yoghurt about 7 years ago.  A 1kg tub is a far better option and all you have to do is spoon it out into a bowl.  Making food from scratch will always be healthier and cheaper for you.

If you didn't watch the show I encourage you to as I loved it.  I think it's a weekly show and not a once off.  With costs of fuel and electricity still so high saving money on food is a good place to start.  The only thing I hope with people saving this amount of money that they put it to good use like paying off mortgages and debt rather than a "wow we've got all this money now we can spend it".


  1. I watched the show last night Kathy and was stunned by how much those families spent on food, just amazing. Like you I'm a meal planner and always check my freezer and pantry before I go shopping, it saves a lot of money as you're not buying things you already have or things that are unnecessary.

    1. I can honestly say I'm sure the show represented a lot of busy families who don't realize how much money a year it's costing them. $156 was way too low for a family of 4 even being frugal however I've decided have a go and cut $25 a week from my food budget and see how I go.

  2. I watched that show last night too Kathy.

    I was rolling my eyes at the average weekly spend being $156...as if!

    I think to be fairer, they needed to stipulate the average weekly spend for a family of four, I think that would show a much more accurate comparison of weekly spending totals. I consider myself a savvy, frugal shopper, and I rarely spend less than $200 for our family of 5, more often it's around $250.

    I liked some of the tips in the show, but I have to draw the line at buying no frills brands if they are made in China, I'm simply not confident in the quality control checks and balances from products coming from this region, and the bottom line is we have to support Aussie farmers, which usually equates to paying a bit more at the supermarket.

    I still do stockpile, I find it's so handy to make a meal from what I've got in the pantry, and the long life items are always bought on half price sales, so I do feel it saves me money in the long run. Also when money has been tight it helps to have a well stocked pantry.

    I think I need to shop more often at Aldi. I do most of my shopping at Coles, a little at Woolies, and a little at Aldi, perhaps I need to flip that on it's head!

    I couldn't agree more with what you said about the savings made being put towards paying off debt, instead of buying more stuff!!

    Sadly I think this series is only two episodes, but maybe if enough interest is shown, it will come back on??

    Isn't it refreshing to see something useful on TV, rather than all the fake drama!

    1. Get into Ali as you will get used to going there and stay away from the middle isles other wise you'll buy lots more things you don't need. As my shops are at one end of the centre and outside further away I got lazy when I was in Woolworths and just shopped there. I am very happy with doing my shop at Ali and then buying my 5 things that I need from Woolworths like Tamar Valley yoghurt, my skim milk (just a flavour I have got used to over the years) and raspberries are better at Woolworths and only 40 cents more. The Aldi ones are always too icy and I've tried them twice. You will make further savings at Aldi I promise you.

  3. Hi Kathy,
    I dont know how I missed that show - glad I can watch it on catchup TV - thanks for posting the link. I really enjoyed scrolling through your posts, what fabulous photos you take! That turkish bread looks good - I often make focassia which is similar. I live in far North Queensland and we dont have supermarket options like you do. I once went to an Aldi when I was visiting in Brisbane and came back with my suitcase half full of food!

    1. Glad you liked the TV show I loved it and I think a lot of people can learn heaps from it. Hopefully they will build an Aldi up North for you. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  4. Thanks for the link, Kathy. I don't watch tv very often but I will have a bit of a look at this to glean some more tips. I tend to do my shopping all over the place but every now and then pop into Aldi to see what's on offer. Like Cheryl, I try to support Australian farmers, and in particular those growing locally if I can. I also buy things in bulk too so that I can avoid a lot of packaging. Meg:)